CEC Eyes $176M for Alternative Vehicles

By Published On: January 9, 2009

The California Energy Commission inched forward in developing a spending plan to promote electric and alternative fueled vehicles to support the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals January 8. Energy Commission staffers unveiled a revised draft plan that outlines $176 million of new spending over the next two years to bring low carbon emission vehicles onto the state’s highways. The funds are a result of new fees levied on motorists under AB 118, enacted in 2007. The law established a new state funding program for alternative and renewable-fueled vehicles. Under the latest version of the plan, the Energy Commission would spend $41 million to advance electric drive and hydrogen-powered cars. Money would go both to vehicle demonstration projects and to build electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations. Most of the remaining money would be spent to promote biofuels, natural gas, and propane as transportation fuels. The plan must be flexible to account for changes in technology and market conditions, noted Peter Ward, Energy Commission fuels and transportation program manager. He said the plan largely is aimed at helping to achieve the state’s goal of rolling back greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 level by 2020, which requires a 30 percent cut under state law AB 32. In the long term, the Energy Commission sets it sights on using vehicles with fewer carbon impacts to achieve an 80 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050. “If the advances don’t occur in the timeframe we’re looking for, we’ll have to adjust for it,” elaborated Tim Olson, Energy Commission emerging fuels and technology manager. The Energy Commission plans to adjust the plan periodically. The commission is set to adopt a final funding plan later this year. It is coordinating on the plan with the California Air Resources Board, which establishes vehicle emissions standards and is in charge of reducing greenhouse gases.

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